CNN's GUT CHECK | for December 13, 2012 | 5 p.m.
– n. a pause to assess the state, progress or condition of the political news cycle
BREAKING: SUSAN RICE WITHDRAWS NAME FROM CONSIDERATION TO BE NEXT SECRETARY OF STATE …
Statement from the White House: “Today, I spoke to Ambassador Susan Rice, and accepted her decision to remove her name from consideration for Secretary of State. For two decades, Susan has proven to be an extraordinarily capable, patriotic, and passionate public servant. … While I deeply regret the unfair and misleading attacks on Susan Rice in recent weeks, her decision demonstrates the strength of her character, and an admirable commitment to rise above the politics of the moment to put our national interests first. The American people can be proud to have a public servant of her caliber and character representing our country.”
Letter from Rice to Obama: “I am highly honored to be considered by you for appointment as Secretary of State. I am fully confident that I could serve our country ably and effectively in that role. However, if nominated, I am now convinced that the confirmation process would be lengthy, disruptive and costly – to you and to our most pressing national and international priorities. The trade-off is simply not worth it to our country.”
DEVELOPING: President Barack Obama and House Speaker John Boehner will meet at the White House about the fiscal cliff at 5 p.m. ET., according to a Republican aide. The meeting would be the two men's first face-to-face talk since Sunday.
On this day in 2000, Vice President Al Gore conceded to Texas Gov. George W. Bush. What did Gore promise not to repeat with Bush?
MARK (@PrestonCNN) & MICHELLE (@MJaconiCNN)
What caught our eye today in politics
Trent Lott and Tom Daschle have been there, in the middle of a legislative vice grip that pitted Republicans against Democrats, Republicans vs. Republicans, Democrats against Democrats and Congress vs. the White House. Policy battles were the norm when these two former Senate leaders led their respective parties, but Lott and Daschle also faced greater challenges, such as President Bill Clinton’s impeachment trial, 9-11 and the anthrax terrorist attacks and resolving a 50-50 Senate.
Senate Republican Leader Lott and Senate Democratic Leader Daschle emerged somewhat battered and definitely bruised from their days in Congress, yet they are still intact and just a few hours ago spoke with CNN Senior Congressional Correspondent Dana Bash about the current crisis facing the Congress and how it can be averted.
Here are some of the highlights:
Bash: I used to stand in the hall as a reporter outside the meeting that you used to have when you were trying to cut a deal. And it was just a question of when would the deal happen and what would it look like? Now it’s, ‘Will they get a deal?’ What’s changed?
Lott: Times are different. There’s a lot of things that are going on that are different now. News media is more omnipresent and all the new social media, the traveling back and forth, and different personalities. You know, Tom and I had our difficulties. Sometimes we get involved in a little revisionist history, like everything was just perfect, but we had our ups and downs. It wasn’t perfect. And I still am convinced that hopefully at least that they’re going to come to an agreement.
Daschle: Partly our experience is also that we were crisis-driven. We had huge crises. … And anytime there’s a crisis of that magnitude, it does bring people together a little bit easier, to bring caucuses and individuals, and provide some direction in ways that we don’t really have today.
Bash: But isn’t this a crisis? Getting ready to go off a fiscal cliff that every economist, right and left, has said will bring the country back into recession?
Lott: Yes, we’re facing a crisis but we’re not there yet. I hope nobody’s advocating the crisis, for the effect it might have and the temporary solution is not that difficult. The real grand bargain, which would have to come next year involving real broad-based tax reform and entitlements and mandatory programs – reforms – will be a lot tougher. They’ve got to find a way, though, to get over this hurdle.
Daschle: And there has to be lines of communication. You have the institution that creates mechanisms by which people can talk. One of the things that we did that I really regret that we didn’t do more often was the whole joint caucuses, where members could talk among themselves without the cameras and without the public scrutiny, where you really could be candid. We don’t do enough of that today. We didn’t do it enough, I don’t think – we were leaders and I wish we’d done it more. And I certainly wish we’d do it more now.
Bash: You all had a hotline, a special phone. Tell me about that.
Daschle: Well, we both decided that there were going to be times when we really needed to call each other immediately and not go through staff. And it was so urgent that when that phone rang, we knew we had a matter that had to be addressed right away. So we installed these phones and used them occasionally and I never got a busy signal when I called.
Lott: So sometimes staff didn’t particularly like it when we talked, but also sometimes I would get up from my desk and I would go down the hall and I would come in the back door of Tom’s office and we would talk. And he would come down to my office. I mean it’s a little thing, but sometimes if the leader says, ‘I don’t want to do that, it looks like I’m conceding to him.’ Usually when I went to see Tom was when I was going to admit I had made a little mistake.
Daschle: We’d also have these balcony moments when we really didn’t want anybody around we’d step out on our balconies and talk very privately.
To read the full transcript, go to www.cnn.com/gutcheck
Did you miss it?
Leading CNNPolitics: Obama above 50% in most polling
What a difference a few months - and a presidential reelection victory - makes. A new CNN Poll of Polls indicates that President Barack Obama's approval rating stands at 52%, with 43% of Americans saying they disapprove of the job the president's doing in the White House. – Paul Steinhauser
Leading Drudge: Going For Gold
Some Golden Globe noms were announced before a national announcement tied to the morning shows. Meantime, Eddie Redmayne of “Les Miserables” is working the fan line at the “Today” show. Christoph Waltz of “Django Unchained” is sitting on the “Today” couch, which must mean he was nominated. – Roger Friedman
Leading HuffPo: Tick Tock
A year ago President Barack Obama stood with a group of home care aides and announced that his administration would be extending to them full labor protections, including minimum wage and overtime. But on Thursday, several of the women who joined the president last year sent him a letter voicing their concern that the change still hasn't happened, noting that the measure was part of the White House's own "We Can't Wait" economic plan. "One year later, we are still waiting," the women wrote. – Dave Jamieson
Leading Politico: 'The a–hole factor'
Back-bench freshmen Justin Amash, Tim Huelskamp and David Schweikert are gaining martyr status among conservative activists after they were “purged” from House committees for what they say is a matter of sticking to their principles on tough votes. But some of their colleagues say the trio got yanked by the leadership-driven Republican steering committee because they’re jerks — or worse. – Jonathan Allen
Leading The New York Times: From Vermont, a Gruff Voice for Shielding Entitlements
When Obama cut a deal with Congressional Republicans in December 2010 to extend tax cuts for the wealthy, Sen. Bernard Sanders, the brusque Vermont independent who calls himself a socialist, decided it was time for a protest. He had a cup of coffee and a bowl of oatmeal in a Senate cafeteria, marched into the chamber and began talking. He talked for so long — railing for 8 hours, 37 minutes about economic justice, the decline of the middle class and “reckless, uncontrollable” corporate greed — that his legs cramped. So many people watched online that the Senate video server crashed. – Sheryl Gay Stolberg
The political bites of the day
– Boehner: The problem is spending –
SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE JOHN BOEHNER AT A CAPITOL HILL PRESS CONFERENCE: “I've been pushing all year for us to address this problem but here we are at the 11th hour and the president still isn't serious about dealing with this issue right here. It's this issue, spending.”
– Reid disparages Boehner presser… at his own press conference –
SENATE MAJORITY LEADER HARRY REID AT A CAPITOL HILL PRESS CONFERENCE: “Instead of getting things done, we're forced to wait and wait and wait for the press conferences the speaker's holding hoping that finally reality will set in. It hasn't yet. He just finished another one a short time ago. At each one of these press conferences he holds, he's ignoring the voice of the American people.”
– Congress in the House –
HOUSE MAJORITY LEADER ERIC CANTOR ON WEDNESDAY: “Members are advised that due to the ongoing negotiations regarding the fiscal cliff a weekend session is possible and therefore last votes for the week are not yet known. ... As was announced last week and the week before, the House will not adjourn the 112th Congress until action has been taken to avert the fiscal cliff. Members are advised to retain flexibility in their travel schedules through the end of the year to the maximum extent possible. I thank the gentleman and yield back.”
– Why are we leaving, Pelosi asks –
HOUSE MINORITY LEADER NANCY PELOSI IN HER WEEKLY CAPITOL HILL PRESS CONFERENCE: “We're coming down to the wire. It's, it's, you know, a matter of days. Last week we went out on Wednesday morning. This week we'll probably go out on Thursday morning, having come in on Tuesday. Two, two-day work weeks in a row. This is just not right. How does this make sense when time is of the essence, why the clock is ticking? And, again, we're coming down to the wire.”
– Can we say ‘mission accomplished’ against al Qaeda? –
SECRETARY OF DEFENSE LEON PANETTA TALKS ABOUT THE STATE OF AL QAEDA IN AN INTERVIEW WITH CNN’S ERIN BURNETT:
Burnett: The original mission here was - I'll quote the president - was to "defeat, disrupt and destroy al Qaeda." Is that mission accomplished?
Panetta: The mission of defeating and deterring al Qaeda I think is well on the way towards achieving the mission with regards to Afghanistan, with the threat that we face here. We continue to face obviously elsewhere not only in Pakistan but Yemen and Somalia and elsewhere. We have had remarkable success going after special operations against al Qaeda here and we're continuing to do that. I think the main challenge here is obviously to make sure is that there's no safe haven for al Qaeda in which to conduct attacks, but the key to that is an Afghanistan that can secure and govern itself. Those two are interlocked in terms of the mission we have in Afghanistan.
What stopped us in 140 characters or less
Jake Sherman (@JakeSherman)
Boehner's office says he is going home, but can negotiate, because Ohio does have cell phones and airports. I can confirm. I've been there.
Lauren Whittington (@l_whittington)
2 amigos RT @sppeoples: Sens. Kelly Ayotte and Lindsey Graham sitting together at my DCA departure gate.
Sam Stein (@samsteinhp)
Boehner going back to Ohio this weekend is about as significant a set back as Obama going to PA for an event. There are things called phones
Alexis Levinson (@alexis_levinson)
Nikki Haley gives Colbert a "second look for Senate, releases the "oppo" from her "vetting process" on Facebook http://www.scribd.com/doc/116451804/Stephen-Colbert …
The Colbert Report (@ColbertReport)
"Do not give up the fight. Keep tweeting Governor Haley why I'd make an ideal senator using the #spottedsalamander." http://on.cc.com/U31lBb
Steve Krakauer (@SteveKrak)
Out of the people who use the internet in the U.S., 63% use social networking. Also: 21% don't use the internet: http://bit.ly/12l7sWK
Mark Leibovich (@MarkLeibovich)
Smartest RT ever! @TheEconomist "17 Things I Learned Frm Reading Every Word of @TheEconomist’s Wrld in 2013 issue http://nyti.ms/VCy2ET
TRIVIA ANSWER from @DanMericaCNN
The long national news story was over. On this day in 2000, Vice President Al Gore conceded the presidency to Texas Gov. George W. Bush after scores of lawyers for both politicians battled for victory in Florida.
On Election Day – November 7, 2000 – control of Florida went back and forth and news outlets were forced to take back calls that they had made regarding the state. During this commotion, Gore even called Bush to concede the election, but when Florida went back into the undecided column, Gore called the future president back to rescind his concession.
Gore mentioned these calls in his final concession speech, and he promised that his last call to the president-elect wasn’t going to change.
“Just moments ago, I spoke with George W. Bush and congratulated him on becoming the 43rd president of the United States, and I promised him that I wouldn't call him back this time,” Gore said. “I offered to meet with him as soon as possible so that we can start to heal the divisions of the campaign and the contest through which we just passed.”
Gore’s concession was lauded as the symbolic end to the long, dramatic process and the former senator from Tennessee went out of his way to call Bush “Mr. President.”
“Almost a century and a half ago, Sen. Stephen Douglas told Abraham Lincoln, who had just defeated him for the presidency, "Partisan feeling must yield to patriotism. I'm with you, Mr. President, and God bless you,’” Gore said. “Well, in that same spirit, I say to president-elect Bush that what remains of partisan rancor must now be put aside, and may God bless his stewardship of this country.”
Gore concluded: “And now, my friends, in a phrase I once addressed to others, it's time for me to go.”
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From what I have read, I'm glad Ms. Rice is stepping down. She has not made many good decisions in the past.